Last Thursday, our YAL chapter teamed up with our allies Campus Libertarians to host a screening of Can We Take A Joke? Campus Libertarians were already planning to host a speaking event later that night titled “The Great Divide In America” featuring Babette Holder. This event was open to the public and focused primarily on racial issues, particularly the history of the Democratic Party and the notion that at some point it “switched” positions with the Republican Party. The turnout for both of these events was great.
While the screening ran relatively smoothly, the speaking event turned out to be quite controversial. Although there weren’t many interruptions during the speaking segment, things got pretty hectic when it came time for the Q&A segment. Several students began delivering monologues under the guise of asking a question, often ending with rhetorical questions instead of genuine information-seeking inquiries. In fact, one particular student almost got in a physical altercation with a woman in the audience who happened to be an African-American conservative activist.
Overall, both of these events were extremely effective in conveying the importance of being able to freely express all ideas no matter how controversial or “offensive” they may be. This really resonated with those who attended, as no matter what side they were on they all agreed that nobody should be silenced simply because of the opinions they hold or things they’ve said. They particularly agreed that comedy should absolutely not be censored as it has always been the last beacon of hope for complete, unrestrained free speech and making “safe spaces” in comedy will lead to its death as an art form.
Overall, we were pleased by how receptive these students were to the idea of free speech. It gives our chapter hope for the future and proves that not all millennials are politically correct drones.